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Daphne Dorney

 Every organization has those special people that make it work well, whose participation and knowledge make being a part of that organization worthwhile. Daphne Dorney was one of those people for the Western Horticultural Society.  


     Her knowledge of horticulture was extensive. Born and raised in England, it almost seems a given that plants would be part of her life's blood. She gardened all her life but really delved into it heart and soul after her retirement from Hewlett Packard. Her love of gardening and plants in general led her to explore and try anything that captured her fancy.

Daphne's interests were varied but concentrated on drought tolerant plants. No nursery went unnoticed. She had many South African, Mediterranean, Californian, Australian, and New Zealand plants scattered around her yard. Her love of birds meant plants with berries and flowers to attract them were well placed, so she could observe them from the house. She would sit on her back patio and watch the birds come and go, sharing with great glee her various bird sightings with friends.

Not to forget her English roots, scattered throughout the garden were a few plants that would remind her of her native home: some Clematis, Fuchsias, a few perennials, and the Rose 'Kathleen', which was her mother's name.

Her plant collection was not limited to the outdoors. Indoors she had many plants as well and variegated foliage was a favorite. In recent years she had become interested in orchids, mainly Phalaenopsis. She delighted in rescuing a sorry-looking plant from the supermarket and getting it to thrive, then watched it bloom for weeks on end. She always commented this was such a great deal compared to cut flowers!

Daphne enjoyed being outdoors. She hiked with a group of people twice a week for well over 20 years and was the unofficial botanist for the group, always pointing out this wild flower or that plant, to everyone's great interest. They hiked all over the Bay Area and beyond. Her hiking trips also led her to many places within the United States and elsewhere. Elder Hostel trips proved a favorite.

All of Daphne's interests made her a wonderful asset to Western Hort. Being one to participate, and having been a member for so many years, she was always there to volunteer for any event Western Hort sponsored. She served on the board as Secretary under Mary Kay's Presidency, helped construct and staff the garden vignette at the San Francisco Flower and Garden show for many years, helped with the holiday potluck and field trips, contributed many plants to the raffle table, and brought things to share at the plant discussion.

It is always a sad day when the Western Horticultural Society loses a member as treasured as Daphne. Yet her enthusiasm for horticulture is something that we all share, and in that we carry on her love of all things that grow!




Western Horticulture Society
PO Box 166, Mountain View, CA 94042
(650) 948-4614 or (650) 941-6136